Parise

Fauve Parise

Editor’s note: “Faces of Cochise County” is a series of street portraits and first-person accounts and conversations with the photo subjects. This is the fifth installment in the series.

Calm and cool. Bisbee’s weather on this particular Sunday and the temperament of artist Fauve Parise. She originally called Bisbee home in 1973, but the Tucson-born creative has been back and forth from Cochise County’s mile-high mining town over the years, planting permanent roots here less than a decade ago.

“People watch out for each other (in Bisbee),” said Parise, adding that is the city’s most attractive attribute.

She was poking around a lingering outdoor clothing rack along Main Street. She sported dark shades and white denim, which contrasted her black Rolling Stones T-shirt that was knotted at the waist. Parise was killing time, hoping to bump into a familiar face, but she said in jest our conversation would do.

Her creative work is anchored by abstract acrylic paintings; but she’s equally excited when she mentions the micro mosaics she crafts, which typically measure 5-by-7 inches and require tweezers to arrange. I don’t know why I bought an easel, she said gleefully, because halfway through a painting I wind up slamming the canvas to the floor and finishing the work there.

Her art is no stranger to the Subway Gallery, Parise explained. She shared a show with two other artists there around 1987, where she arrived in garments that were painted by the trio.

“It’s so much fun to create wearable art,” she added.

Fortunately, she kept busy during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Parise is currently building a 50-piece gallery project and quickly whips out her mobile to share a glimpse. Our technology allows us to stage an artist viewing with two swipes on a handheld mirror. It’s easy to appreciate that type of power and ironic to think that most people spend their time arguing with strangers on a supercomputer.

Although her paintings are typically in color, this new series organically went black-and-white. Parise curates her mobile museum delicately, waiting for my eyes to respond then tracing figures that rise to the surface upon second glance. She said her laborious process helped her respond to our shared pandemic crisis. My friends told me the same, Parise said.

I’ve been seely in that sense as well, I replied. I had an outlet for my nervous energy during the chaos that’s unfolded during the past 20 months. I get to share a creative photo or talk to a person who’s on the same crazy train we all unexpectedly boarded in early 2020. On occasion, us creatives get a thumbs-up for our efforts, which reminds us how sweet a short chapter on Earth can be.

Now take the photo, bub, I thought.

David J. Del Grande is an internationally recognized writer and photographer based in Tucson. His first photography book, “Luces del barrio” is now available at www.davidjdelgrande.com.